Friday, 28 February 2014

Queen Mary visits us again

NT News photo - sent in by a reader, posted on facebook.
Yesterday the enormous Queen Mary 2 visited us again.
I watched her come into port just after breakfast and she left around sunset. When the ship was sailing into the harbour there was a big rainbow and it looked as if QM2 was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My photo is not as pretty as this one. Because of the cloudy conditions the sea does not look sparkling blue. But the Wet Season has made us very green and lush and tropical in the way that visitors expect.

At around five I walked down to have a look at how big this cruise liner actually is. Yes folks, she's big. Hundreds of people were doing the same, especially those families with little children. Bit of a traffic jam.

Those tug boats are not small. The stripey-looking-thing at the end of the wharf is actually a three storey building housing the customs, immigration, and port offices relevant to cruise liners and visiting ships. Along the side of QM2 you can see the lifeboats. There are four that are not orange. They are launches, and each one would probably hold 50 people I reckon.
The fog horn (is that the correct name?) was really loud, booming and echoing off the concrete buildings and the cliffs around town. Actually it sounded like fun. Maybe the babies and shift workers did not think so, but I did.
When it was time to go, engines at the front and rear pushed the ship outwards, parallel to the wharf. Then the back went further and the front moved in the opposite direction - sort of circular movement. Then she was off, slowly at first but this ship really moves much faster than other cruise ships that come here.

It was not possible to get particularly close, but I found my walk an enjoyable activity. The area was busy with loading equipment and whatever else is done when ships call at ports. Passengers were returning from the day's tours and shopping.
Luckily for the passengers and crew the day was cool and comfy although there was rain during the morning. Next year the Queen Mary 2 will call into Darwin in May. The weather should be much better then and will make for a happier cruise experience.

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